With any luck, I am going to get old. And I hope you do too. As shit as it’s going to be in some ways (I was talking to a menopausal friend about the nitty gritty of it the other week and hooley dooley that sounds difficult!), it’s a blessing to grow old. I’m reminded of this by talking to a friend our age undergoing treatment for aggressive breast cancer.
Recently I listened to an NPR interview with writer Anna Quindlen where she talks about being in her late 50s and how she’s changed: “It’s odd when I think of the arc of my life – from child to young woman to aging adult. First I was who I was. Then I didn’t know who I was. Then I invented someone and became her. Then I began to like what I’d invented. And finally I was what I was again.” Pretty cool, hey? You can listen to the whole podcast here.
We can hunger for the past, or ache for the future, but I think that being in the moment and just living it: whether it’s the enjoyment of that moment, or the pain of it, is one of the greatest things we can do. I also find it very hard! By not doing any form of meditation or yoga and not studying a spiritual practice, I’m probably not giving myself the best chance at achieving a maximum ‘live in the moment’ sitch, but it really feels good when I catch myself there hanging out. Just digging the vibe.
For the past month I’ve been doing a boot camp. Not to be mistaken with the boot camp that Tabs hosted back in 2008/09, which was legendary in its own right. This boot camp is hard but awesome. I truly miss it (some) mornings when I’m not there at 6:15am. Doing fitness is so great for being in the moment. And it turns out that I quite enjoy running (short distances). I never would have forecasted that!
Living in the moment is definitely different from *enjoying* every single moment. Also a favourite subject of mine in connection with parenthood. See here and here. Today Leo and I were at a chemist and an old lady said “they grow up too fast, don’t they?” As cliched and loaded as that statement is, the sentiment at the heart of it: that children are beautiful in every way is, of course, lovely. And true. But of course they’re also exasperating and difficult to live with too. So when that kind of ‘enjoy this, it’s the happiest time of your life’ sentiment is trotted out to a mother in a moment where she’s clearly not having a good time, I think it’s annoying to bring that up. (Through gritted teeth: “Yes, yes, it’s the happiest time of my life”…) etc.
So on this particular morning, I sat there with Leo (playing with his car and two clips he insisted on bringing) on the floor of the chemist, drinking him in, loving his company and reminding myself that I wasn’t in any real hurry.